Minneapolis-St. Paul Southwest LRT Project Faces Delays

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The challenges of constructing the proposed corridor protection wall in the BNSF-Wayzata subdivision (pictured above) are among those setting back the Southwest LRT (Metro Green Line extension) project in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The challenges of constructing the proposed corridor protection wall in the BNSF-Wayzata subdivision (pictured above) are among those setting back the Southwest LRT (Metro Green Line extension) project in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council (Met Council) and Hennepin County report that the Southwest LRT project in Minneapolis-St. Paul will not open on schedule in 2023.

Project staff and contractor Lunda-McCrossan Joint Venture encountered “unforeseen conditions” during construction last year on the Minneapolis segment of the alignment. The project is extending the Metro Green Line 14.5 miles from the existing Target Field station in downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie in Hennepin County, and includes 16 stations. (It received a $100 million allocation last month through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program.)

They explained:

• “Due to the poor soils we encountered in the Kenilworth corridor during the initial construction of the tunnel, an alternative construction method is needed to complete the tunnel. The construction method we are introducing (secant wall) will stabilize the soils while constructing the LRT tunnel. We are taking this approach out of an abundance of caution to protect the foundations of adjacent buildings.”

• “We are constructing an approximately 1-mile corridor protection wall for an additional layer of protection between BNSF freight trains and LRT trains. The corridor protection wall will be located in BNSF’s Wayzata Subdivision in Minneapolis from the Bryn Mawr Station to just east of I-94. This protection wall was added as a requirement of BNSF after final design and civil construction contracting. While this element is not a surprise, we have now completed analysis and design for the wall and have a fuller understanding of the challenges of constructing this project element in an active freight rail corridor.” (See the video below for more details.)

The changes will “require thoughtful and deliberate engineering, design plans, and construction methods,” Met Council said. Over the next several months, project staff and the Lunda-McCrossan Joint Venture “will be analyzing the schedule” and expect to share more details later this year.  

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